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A global meta-analysis of the economic values of provisioning and cultural ecosystem services

Teoh, S.H.S., Symes, W.S., Sun, H., Pienkowski, T., Carrasco, L.R.
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.649 pp. 1293-1298
agricultural land, biodiversity, costs and returns, databases, decision making, economic valuation, ecosystem services, ecosystems, geographical distribution, geostatistics, gross domestic product, humans, issues and policy, meta-analysis, socioeconomics, Brazil, India
Despite a growing demand to integrate ecosystem services into sustainability decision-making, our understanding of the global distribution of the economic value of ES is scarce. We extracted information from provisioning and cultural ecosystem services (PCES) from The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) database using a meta-analytical approach. We then employed geostatistical methods to analyze the relationship between economic values and environmental and socio-economic predictors. Here we show that anthropogenic related factors such as accessibility, spatially explicit gross domestic product and ecosystem services scarcity explain global trends of PCES economic values. We observe higher PCES values in agricultural areas of strong human presence such as the British Isles, Southwest of Brazil and India and lower values in less disturbed natural areas. These findings highlight the decisive role that human systems play in the economic realization of PCES and caution that single-criterion sustainability and conservation policies aimed at maximizing the economic returns of PCES may not overlap with wild nature.